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Thread: tap handles

  1. #1
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    tap handles

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    My son has asked me to make some custom handles for a beer kegerator. He has gotten into making his own custom brews at home. I'm happy to make them. He wants each handle different. Choosing woods is/was first step. He and our DIL took us to Hawaii several years ago and I bought some wood while there. I have a hunk of Koa that is just right for one handle. I cut an Osage Orange tree from his lake house property when it was built and have plenty of that. Ten plus year old OO will be a hard turn but I enjoy it. Those will be "memory" woods. Third will probably be some maple a friend gave me. Slightly figured but will be pretty. On the top he wants unique stuff. One will have family initial 'F' on one side of a flat round piece. On the side facing the user it will be painted with blackboard paint. The other two toppers are yet to be decided but I'll make them uneek.
    Problem I'm facing now is the stud they will attach to is a 3/8"X16 UNC thread. The threaded inserts I have found are all fine. I may have to buy tubing and a tap and make my own. Glad he is my son. I would not fuss and bother like this for anyone else without charging big bucks. Also have to decide on a finish since these will be handled a lot. I'm thinking just rattle can poly will be durable enough and not destroy the natural wood beauty.
    "Folks is funny critters."

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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Fusco View Post
    Problem I'm facing now is the stud they will attach to is a 3/8"X16 UNC thread. The threaded inserts I have found are all fine. I may have to buy tubing and a tap and make my own. Glad he is my son. I would not fuss and bother like this for anyone else without charging big bucks. Also have to decide on a finish since these will be handled a lot. I'm thinking just rattle can poly will be durable enough and not destroy the natural wood beauty.
    I'm not a huge fan of the regular brass inserts like these: https://www.midwestsupplies.com/bras...p-handles.html
    (obviously much cheaper elsewhere). The problem with them is that they are a bit short combined with the finer threads on the outside increases the probability of catastrophic failure. I haven't broken any in home use because I'm pretty gentle, but a sample I made for a friends pub lasted about a week. You can mitigate the problem somewhat by leaving the base of the handle fairly fat more like a (_) shape than a \ / shape. .

    The longer inserts with coarser threads like this one: http://www.lowes.com/pd_137397-37672...ductId=3012578 seem to survive quite a bet better (made it a month at the bar ). The outside thread profile on these seems to be less apt to split the wood on insertion as well.

    For either of those types I'd insert the threaded bits while the wood is square and clamped in a vise to minimize chances of splitting (even with the hole drilled generously I've had some problems).

    My prefered setup is to use a "tap handle ferrule" (google search gets a lot of hits) with a hanger bolt (5/16 seems universal) in the handle to attach the two together. You can get the ferrules in a variety of styles and colors (brass, nickle, silver, gold / straight, curved, etc..). Not sure on where the best place is to buy them anymore. My last order was from http://store.taphandles.com/collections/accessories for silver in a lot of 50 where they had a decent price break.

  3. #3
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    Been looking myself for the best way to do this, was planning to do as Rich suggested last, using the ferrules, these are the ones I came across.

    http://www.kegworks.com/chrome-beer-..._icmp=nextopia
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  4. #4
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    While some brewing places will carry the stuff, you might want to check out who is local, that supplies parts to fix soda machines, as they also, a lot of times deal with beer stuff. (CO2 pumps, taps, etc). My local place is Fox Equipment.

    Another option, since it is hardware, would be something like Mcmaster Carr.

  5. #5
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    The ferrule idea with the hanger bolt seems like the best idea, as that makes it easier to adjust what side of the tap handle is facing the 'front'
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  6. #6
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    Lot of good tips guys. Thanks. The ferrule seems the best way to go. It adds strength to the bottom where it is needed the most. I might go that route.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  7. #7
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    Yes use a ferrule, I've made a couple of these for a friend and both ended up splitting at the connection without a ferrule. His wife ended up buying a tap handle from his favorite beer (Moose Drool) so I never ended up making one with a ferrule.

    I saw one made from a 3 or 4 point deer antler in a bar up in northern WI, that looked pretty cool too. It had mini powder horn hanging from it as well. I thought of you when I saw it for the first time Frank and think it would be a fitting gift from you to you son too. Wish I had taken a pic of it.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Dowell View Post
    The ferrule idea with the hanger bolt seems like the best idea, as that makes it easier to adjust what side of the tap handle is facing the 'front'
    Actually the knurled botom/flare topped nut on the stem of the tap is meant to be adjusted to lock the handle in place so you can easily set which side is front when you put the handle on. The basic handle installation steps are to finger tighten that nut down most of the way, screw you're handle on all the way, then back out off to where it's facing how you want then finally back that nut up to lock the handle in place.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Bower View Post
    Yes use a ferrule, I've made a couple of these for a friend and both ended up splitting at the connection without a ferrule. His wife ended up buying a tap handle from his favorite beer (Moose Drool) so I never ended up making one with a ferrule.

    I saw one made from a 3 or 4 point deer antler in a bar up in northern WI, that looked pretty cool too. It had mini powder horn hanging from it as well. I thought of you when I saw it for the first time Frank and think it would be a fitting gift from you to you son too. Wish I had taken a pic of it.
    Really neat idea. I may steal it. He isn't a hunter but that would sure make him think of me everytime he used it.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Mooney View Post
    Actually the knurled botom/flare topped nut on the stem of the tap is meant to be adjusted to lock the handle in place so you can easily set which side is front when you put the handle on. The basic handle installation steps are to finger tighten that nut down most of the way, screw you're handle on all the way, then back out off to where it's facing how you want then finally back that nut up to lock the handle in place.
    Glad I asked here. Incredible the knowledge and experience that is shared.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

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